The identity of Ireland’s head coach will come autumn 2017 remains a moot point as the IRFU awaits word on Joe Schmidt’s intentions, but Stuart Lancaster has insisted his focus is on club rugby.
IRFU CEO Philip Browne has declared the game here is well stocked with potential candidates for the key role should Schmidt decide against extending his contract beyond 2017 and Lancaster’s arrival in the country adds another potential candidate to the mix.
Lancaster spent four years as England head coach but, though he made many positive changes and won some big matches, he failed to land a Six Nations title and the failure to emerge from the pool stages of last year’s World Cup proved fatal to his tenure.
“I want to get my teeth into club coaching,” he said yesterday. “That’s my priority.”
The 46-year old has been busy since his England exit.
Short stints with the Atlanta Falcons NFL franchise, British Cycling, the English FA and Counties Manukau in New Zealand have allowed him to test a wide variety of waters though talk of possible head coach roles with Toulon and in Australia have come to nought.
Any and all queries that strayed beyond the year of his current contract with Leinster were countered with declarations of short-term intent. There is no grand plan, he basically said, though a return to the hotseat is surely something he will aim for.
“Further down the line, opportunities might come up,” was as much as he would say. “It is not something I crave at the moment. I’ve got an opportunity to influence the group (at Leinster) and pass on what I’ve learned in a coaching capacity.”
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